Three Times Lucky – that’s how Moses “Mo” LoBeau describes herself. After all, she washed up in the creek during a hurricane near Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, 11 years ago when she was a baby, and while she longs to locate her upstream mother, she knows she actually has it pretty good living with Miss Lana and the Colonel. She has her best friend Dale, and a massive crush on Dale’s older brother, Lavender Shade. Just to make life interesting, Mo even has her sworn enemy Attilla (oops, that should be Anna) Simpson. Life for all its ups and downs is pretty good. But when there’s a murder in Mo’s quiet town, Mo will do anything she must to protect her family and friends.
This is a fun southern mystery, rich with figurative language that creates a thick southern atmosphere. Some of the characters are stereotypical southerners which was a bit bothersome, but I loved Mo, Dale, and Lavender for all their quirkiness. (I especially loved Lavender’s patience with his younger brother and Mo’s crush).
While there were some allusions that were a bit jarring to see in a middle grade novel, I think these instances will be lost on most young readers (More mature readers may pick up on these allusions, but even if a reader does not get them, the loss will not affect comprehension of the overall story).
This is Ms. Turnage’s first novel and I thought the pacing was a bit slow at first. While I did enjoy the book, I think it might appeal mostly to hard core mystery lovers or those readers who enjoy “southern” fiction. Although the main character is a girl, Dale’s character and the mystery will make the book appealing for middle grade boys.
Recommended for mystery lovers in fourth grade up.